The Grand Tour
Chapter 1: Tying up Loose Ends
An incessant knocking on the front door of my apartment dragged me out my slumber. I slid out of bed and slipping on my robe. I staggered through the living room muttering good morning to John Buck who had emerged from the other bedroom. He collapsed onto the sofa when he saw me. I opened the front door to be faced by the grinning visage of Charles French, a fellow Investigator.
"Do you know what time it is?" I asked, trying to wipe the sleep out of my eyes.
"Yes! Do you?"
"No," I said as I tried to focus on my watch. It was twenty minutes to eleven. "Well, what do you want? I think you'd better come in."
As he came in, I waved at the sofa and muttered "Charles, John Buck, a Mountie."
"Pleased to meet you." said Charles.
John murmured something in reply. At that moment, the bedroom door opened and a sleepy-eyed Sarah emerged.
"Coffee?" she asked.
"Thank you!" replied Charles, while John's eyes said the same thing.
Indicating the dining table, I told Charles, "Why don't you sit down and tell me what you want?"
He sat at the table and said, "Our beloved Director ... J Edward Hoover, distinguished grandson of a distinguished grandfather ... requests your attendance and dispatched me to ascertain when would it be convenient to see you?"
"Heavens! I hope he realizes that it was near five o'clock this morning when we knocked off!"
"He does, although you failed to mention it in your note. So when may I tell His Highness to expect you?"
"Is the summons for all of us or just for me?"
"As I understand it, he wants to speak with you first. However, he wants to meet with your companions afterwards."
"It'll have to be this afternoon, after we've eaten." I said and my stomach rumbled in agreement.
Sarah came back in carrying a tray with the coffee things on it.
"Marvelous!" muttered John. "I need some of that!"
We chatted while we had our coffee with the others coming and going to attend to their ablutions and getting dressed. Charles had been bringing us up to date on news of interest to us. I had been replaced at Quantico while we had been off chasing a demon and catching him. I wasn't going to lose any sleep over that! I told him not to expect us at the office before half past two and it might be nearer to three o'clock.
He left, thanking Sarah for the coffee. I then went to get ready. By the time I re-entered the living room the others were waiting for me.
"How about going to The Cedar for brunch?" I asked. "It's on the way to the office and I think we all deserve a little pampering." Turning to John, I said, "Besides which, we don't have any food in the kitchen. It was all cleared out before Sarah and I started at Quantico."
So that's what we did. It was about twenty past two when we entered the office. I suggested that they sat in the cafeteria while I went to see the Director. The Director's secretary greeted me.
"He's expecting you! Go straight in."
I knocked and heard, "Come,"and I opened the door.
"Ah! Robert, come in. Well done! I don't think we've managed to capture a Demon quite so quickly since my grandfather's day. Come in and sit down."
"Now fill me in on who this Demon is and what it had to with the murder of the student at Quantico. There's hell to pay for that, by the way. His family is most influential. However your apprehension of the perpetrator so quickly will go some way to mollify them."
I then brought the Director up-to-date on the chase and capture of Frederyk and how the Mounties were keeping an eye on his handler.
"Well Robert! What do I do with you now? Your place at Quantico has been taken, so I doubt that you want to go back there. You youngsters seem to think that it's a wearisome chore. Again you seem to have put together the start of quite a team. How would you like to keep them? They seem to be quite effective. What about young Buck? Do you want to keep him?"
"Yes, given half a chance, I'd like to keep the team together. Perhaps we could even expand the team. We could do with an Investigator with legal experience."
"Very good, my boy! I think we can even help you with that. Did you know that young Buck is a qualified lawyer who tried to join us, but chose to do so when we had an over-abundance of legal entrants?"
"No Sir, I didn't. We've been too busy for that sort of chat!"
"The Mounties don't use legal Investigators as we do. If young Buck wants to transfer and become a permanent member of your team, he can make full use of his qualifications."
"That sounds as though it would be an ideal arrangement. Have you decided how you want to treat Frederyk?"
"Not yet. I've got the Deputy Director of Thaumaturgy looking into precedents. Now, I think it's time to meet with others. Where are they?"
"I left them in the cafeteria. Charles said that you'd want to meet them."
"Right fetch them up to the Executives Conference Room in twenty minutes time. My secretary will lay on tea and buns."
Dismissed, I went down to the cafeteria to collect the other two. I found Officer Buck regaling Sarah with tales of policing in the far north. "I'm sorry to break this up, but our presence has been requested upstairs." As we left the cafeteria I asked John. "How would you like to join us on a permanent basis?"
"Very much, but I've responsibilities in Toronto."
"Yes! You know, I tried to join the Bureau once before. Do you think that there's a possibility... ?
"Keep your fingers crossed."
By this time we had reached the Executive Conference room. Entering, we found the Director's secretary supervising the setting up the afternoon tea. As we gathered round the table, Director J Edward Hoover and Deputy Director Sean Lochlainn the Third entered and sat at the head of the table.
"Please sit down." the Director said. "You've all made a very good showing in your recent adventure. I was saying to Investigator MacLeod earlier that such a speedy capture of demon hasn't happened in many a long year. In point of fact, I think the last time was during my grandfather's tenure. The Deputy Director and I would like you to tell us in detail how you carried out this task."
Both of our audience members listened with rapt attention.
The Director's eyes roamed over us before he started. "For some while now we've been considering the possibility of forming a mobile team. There are occasions when a local team doesn't have enough manpower or the bad guys are all over the place. Criminals are much more mobile these days. As a team, you've proved yourselves capable as a mobile team. My only misgiving is that your strength leans towards the thaumaturgical side."
"With respect, Director," I interrupted, "My emphasis to students at Quantico is that they should use logical deductive processes and keep magic back as a last resort."
"I know, Robert, and that largely overcomes my misgivings. Still you only have one legal Investigator and no police Investigator on the team." Addressing John he said. "Officer Buck. Do you think you would consider joining the Bureau?"
"Like a shot, Sir" John replied. "It's what I've always wanted."
"Good! We've taken the liberty of asking the Mounted Police to effect your transfer. Buck, you are now a Special Investigator of the New England Bureau of Investigation. Your parents in Coopersville will be proud that you've achieved your ambition"
"And now," he continued, "I'll leave you three to the tender mercies of Deputy Director Lochlainn," he said as he got up and left.
The Deputy Director took over and said.
"Robert, what do you think we should do with Frederyk?"
"So far, Sir, I haven't had a chance to give it much thought..."
"But we have, Sir." Sarah interrupted. "We were discussing it in the cafeteria while Robert was in a meeting with the Director."
"And what conclusions did you come to?"
"Before he was shut up, both figuratively and literally, in his bucket, he expressed his loyalty to the spy, Anton. Perhaps his allegiance could be changed if we promised to moderate Anton's living conditions."
"That, young Bullock is an idea worth considering. Would you reunite his parts?"
"No, Sir! If they were reunited, his first thought would be to rescue Anton. However, there may be some situations in which it would be to our advantage if his eyes could be replaced."
"Good thinking, young lady, we'll consider it. Robert, come and see me before you leave"
He arose and departed, while we sampled some of the food laid out on the side table. Twenty minutes later, I followed him. His secretary waved me into his office.
"Ah! Robert. The Director and I have decided that you should offer Anton Walsh a better life if he can manage to persuade Frederyk to work for us. Interview Anton in Alcatraz and see if he'll cooperate. Meanwhile, we want you to examine a couple of recent cases on route to California. Take some leave on the way back."
"These are the cases we want you to look into. You'll find the details for them in this folder. The first isn't really our sort of case at all. An old college friend of the Director's has asked if we can help him. It looks like a case of a whole class cheating in an exam and he doesn't know what to do. The second case is more mysterious. A shooting with no shooter,"
Handing me the folders, he said "There are train tickets in here for the three of you as well. Try not to spend too much time on those cases. They're both low priority, it's just a look see in the event that something occurs to you. We have no great expectations of solving them."
"I'll report back, by teleson after we've had a chance to look into them."
"Right you are. You'd better go and collect the others. When you get back from your trip to California, we may have found a working base for you."
The three of us just had time to return to my apartment and pack our traveling bags in order to catch our train at half past six!